Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read

  • Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read

    Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read

    Ramon Destorrents (Spain, active 1351-1391), Arnau Bassa (Spain, active 1345-48), Ferrer Bassa (Spain, †1348) - Inv. 1643 Pint

This magnificent example of Catalan Gothic painting clearly demonstrates the early acceptance of Italian models in the painting of eastern Spain. It formed the central part of an altarpiece that king Pedro IV of Aragon commissioned for the chapel of his castle in Palma de Maiorca, immediately after the conquest of the island in 1343.

The composition is dominated by the figure of Saint Anne teaching the Virgin to read. Housed in framed niches, in the upper part, are the Angel and the Virgin Mary of the Annunciation, and in the lower part, in compartments surmounted by Gothic gablets, are two highly popular female saints and martyrs: St. Catherine and St. Barbara. The heraldic figurations are a reference to King Pedro and the three queens, his wives, the second of whom was Dona Leonor of Portugal.